March 3rd, 2021

Reloading Can Be Fun … and a Stress-Reliever

Sierra Bullets Blog handloading stress relief

by Sierra Bullets Ballistic Technician Philip Mahin for Sierra Bullets Blog
A lot of calls that come into the Sierra Customer Service Center are made by shooters [of retirement age]. Most of the time the shooter used to reload back when they were [younger] and stopped in order to raise a family, pursue a career, or both. Maybe their father or grandfather taught them back in the day and they are looking for an answer to the new whatchamacallit they found on the internet. The point is they are coming back to it because it was fun.

Reloading Can Provide Stress Relief
As a father of three, a husband, a brother, a son and son-in-law, and a friend and neighbor, I get pulled in a lot of directions. In all honesty, reloading and shooting has become a stress relief for me even though I work in the shooting industry.

Sometimes, the shooting gets put on hold for other more important things but there will always be another project or repair to accomplish. There are a lot out there that have found a way to balance the work life, the family life, and the play life. I would like to applaud you on your efforts because it is a hard thing to accomplish.

Remember to take time and relieve that stress. Do something fun, especially if it is shooting that special hand-load you just made.

AccurateShooter Comment — Hand-Loading and the Creative Process
Reloading your own precise ammo can be rewarding in many ways. First it allows you a temporary escape from work pressures, “Honey-Dos”, filing your taxes — whatever. It’s just you and Mr. Rockchucker spending quality time in the loading room. Second, hand-loading is a creative process that engages the mind. During load development, you are like an inventor, selecting a powder charge, choosing the bushing size, experimenting with seating depths, working to perfect your load.

Lastly, the process of hand-loading is rewarding because you are building something start to finish. You begin with components — bullets, brass, and powder, and end up with a finished product that (hopefully) is better than the best factory ammo you could buy. It is enormously satisfying to start with piles of bullets and brass and end up with beautiful hand-loads that can deliver great accuracy.

This post originally appeared in the Sierra Bullets Blog.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 1 Comment »
March 3rd, 2021

Forster Co-Ax Press Features Showcased in Video

Forster Co-Ax Coax Reloading Press Grafs Grafs.com Sale Co-Axial rockchucker

In recent years, Forster Co-Ax® presses have been somewhat hard to find, as demand has out-stripped supply. However, right now Midsouth Shooters has Co-Ax presses in stock for $349.99. This price includes a set of jaws. The Co-Ax Single Stage Press accepts any standard 7/8″ X 14 reloading die, but Forster suggests using Forster Cross Bolt Lock Rings for best results. As the Co-Ax is back-ordered at most vendors, you may want to order soon.

If you are not yet familiar with the many unique features of the Forster Co-Ax, we recommend you watch the video embedded below. This shows how the press operates and highlights the design elements which set the Co-Ax apart from every other reloading press on the market.

Video Shows Special Features of Forster Co-Ax Reloading Press

Forster Co-Ax Press Video Review
This is a very thorough review of the Forster Co-Ax done by Rex Roach. This 14-minute video shows the key Co-Ax features, explaining how the floating case-holder jaws work (3:30 time-mark), how the dies are held in place (4:40 time-mark), how spent primers are captured (6:10 time-mark), and how to set the primer seating depth (10:00 time-mark). We’ve used a Co-Ax for years and we still learned a few new things by watching this detailed video. If you are considering purchasing a Co-Ax, definitely watch this video start to finish.

Forster Co-Ax Coax Reloading Press Grafs Grafs.com Sale Co-Axial rockchucker

The Co-Ax case-holder features spring-loaded, floating jaws. These jaws have two sets of openings, small and large. This allows the system to adapt to various rim diameters. The jaw plates can simply be reversed to switch from small jaw to large jaw. In the photo above, the Co-Ax is configured with the large jaw openings in the center.

Photos are screen shots from Forster Co-Ax Review by Rex Roach on YouTube.

Permalink - Videos, Gear Review, Reloading 5 Comments »
March 3rd, 2021

Marksmanship Training — PRO Tips from the USAMU

USAMU Shooting USA Pro tips

The U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU), in cooperation with Shooting USA TV, has created a series of instructional Pro Tip pages covering a wide range of shooting disciplines. All totaled, there are more than 50 USAMU Pro Tips. Most relate to rifle marksmanship but there are also numerous tips for shotgunners and pistol shooters. Each Pro Tip entry includes multiple photos and 6-15 paragraphs, in an easy-to-follow format. Many Pro Tips also include an instructional video produced by Shooting USA. Here are three Pro Tip videos, and links to seven more Pro Tip web pages.

USAMU TOP TEN PRO TIPS

1. Reading the Wind with SGT Sherri Gallagher.
Apart from gravity, wind has the most pull on the bullet as it travels down range. Being able to accurately read the wind and mirage will greatly enhance your performance on the rifle range. National Champion, SGT Gallagher gives you some of her tips.

2. Angle Shooting with SFC (Ret.) Emil Praslick.
SFC Praslick shows you how to determine the angle to your target, and then how to include that to change your data necessary to hit your target on the first shot.

3. Rifle Grip, Stance and Body Position for 3-Gun with SFC Daniel Horner.
Professional 3-gun marksman SFC Daniel Horner, U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU), give tips on how to properly handle a semi-automatic rifle, including grip, stance and body position.

4. Service Rifle Positions (with SFC Brandon Green)

5. Rifling and Twist Rate (with SFC Ret. Emil Praslick)

6. Setting the Right Zero (with SPC Ty Cooper)

7. Practice Drills (with SFC Lance Dement)

8. Using the Sling

9. Getting Your AR Zeroed

10. 3-Gun Rifles By Division (with SFC Daniel Horner)

USAMU Pro Tips Sherri Gallagher Emil Praslick Daniel Horner

Permalink - Videos, Competition, Shooting Skills Post comment »
March 2nd, 2021

Upgrade Your Tikka T3 with Criterion Pre-Fit Barrel

Tikka T3 T-2 prefit chambered barrel 6.5 Creedmoor Solid Accuracy Criterion Barrels

We have always liked Tikka actions, and now there is a great re-barreling option for Tikka T3 owners. Criterion Barrels Inc. (CBI), makers of “pre-fit” barrels for Savage, Remington, and Rem-clone actions, also produces Tikka pre-fits. These pre-chambered barrels for Tikka T3 actions will be headspaced with a barrel nut, just like a Savage.

Tikka T3 T-2 prefit chambered barrel 6.5 Creedmoor Solid Accuracy Criterion Barrels
Click image for full-screen version

Criterion’s Tikka T3 pre-fit barrels are currently sold through Solid Accuracy, a respected Texas-based outfit that sells high-end scopes, stocks, barrels and other rifle components. Solid Accuracy states: “Each Solid Accuracy/Criterion pre-fit barrel features a hand-lapped bore and meets extreme quality control standards. Utilizing a proven barrel nut design, these barrels can be swapped in just a few minutes using only a barrel nut wrench and the appropriate headspace gauge set. Solid Accuracy offers finished lengths up to 30″ with multiple contour options.”

These Tikka pre-fits were first introduced in 2017, and the accuracy results were impressive. Solid Accuracy’s initial test rifle featured a Tikka T3 action mounted in a KRG X-Ray chassis, with Criterion barrel chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor. The group below was shot with a stout load of H4350 and Sierra 140 grain MatchKings seated .009″ in the lands.

Tikka T3 T-2 prefit chambered barrel 6.5 Creedmoor Solid Accuracy Criterion Barrels

Criterion is proud of how well the Tikka pre-fit project turned out. These barrels work great in the Tikka platform. One of Criterion’s staffers was so impressed with the initial test results that he is built his own Tikka T3 rifle, with a Criterion pre-fit of course…

Permalink Gear Review, Gunsmithing, Tactical Post comment »
March 2nd, 2021

Never Do This! — Gun Preserving Advice from Jerry Miculek

Jerry Miculek gun video handling safety error garand sks AR15 revolver

Jerry Miculek is the best action revolver shooter who has ever lived. Miculek is also a true master with rifle and shotgun. This guy shoots hundreds of thousands of rounds every year in all types of firearms. Through that process, he has discovered common mistakes many shooters make. Those mistakes can harm the guns, or threaten the safety of the operator. Here Jerry offers some vital gun handling and safety advice in his “Never Do This” video series.

Jerry Miculek has won multiple revolvers championships, and has set amazing records for revolver speed shooting (with reloads). Yes Jerry, “Mr. Revolver”, knows a thing or two about wheelguns. In this video, Jerry explains how you can damage your revolver by using the wrong methods to open and close the cylinder and extract ammo. Jerry shows what NOT to do, and then he very carefully explains the proper procedure to release the cylinder, and swing it out of the frame. In addition, Jerry shows how best to swing a loaded cyclinder back into place. If you own a revolver, ANY revolver, you should definitely watch this video.

In this second video, Jerry explains common mistakes people make when handling and shooting three classic, semi-auto firearm types — the M1 Garand, the SKS carbine, and the M1911 pistol. Jerry shows handling faults that can cause out-of-battery detonation or early primer strikes, or cause jams in the Garand and SKS. Then Jerry explains why you should never release the slide on a M1911 pistol with a round already in the chamber. This is a must-watch video for Garand owners.

Here Jerry demonstrates of the most common jams that can happen with AR-platform rifles. Miculek reveals the cause of the issue and then shows how to prevent it. Jerry notes: “This is one of those malfunctions that you won’t see coming! I’ve seen it … on the range and it can be devastating to your time in a match. All ammo used in the video were dummy rounds and intentionally loaded for training without powder or primers.”

Jerry Miculek gun video handling safety error garand sks AR15 revolver

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March 2nd, 2021

2021 Traveler’s Guide to Firearm Laws of the 50 States

If you plan to travel across state lines with your guns, this book can really help. With over 100 changes from last year, the 2021 edition of Traveler’s Guide to the Firearm Laws of the Fifty States is a must-read for anyone planning to travel around the country with firearms. In addition, the book also covers the firearms travel laws for Canada and Mexico.

For $14.95 you can purchase a state-by-state Traveler’s Guide to firearms laws. This book can help ensure you comply with all state laws during your trip. Highways Magazine states: “If you carry a weapon in your rig, you need this book.” This 68-page guide covers all firearms types and all 50 states. It even has info for Canada and Mexico.

This 25th edition of the Traveler’s Guide covers important topics such as carry of firearms in a motor vehicle, concealed carry reciprocity, which states preempt local gun regulation, tips on handling a traffic stop, concealed carry in state and National Parks, vehicle carry and possession on college campuses and much more. Best of all, the text is in plain, easy-to-read English.

Written and researched by J. Scott Kappas, an attorney and Class III Firearms Dealer, the 2021 Traveler’s Guide has a preface that defines many key terms important for anyone traveling with a firearm across state lines. The latest edition also has new formatting for easier reading.

Purchase from GunLawGuide.com for $14.95 + $4.00 shipping, or get it on Amazon for $16.40 with free shipping. The Traveler’s Guide to the Firearm Laws of the Fifty States has sold more than 1,000,000 copies since it was first released in 1996.

MORE INFO at GunlawGuide.com | CLICK HERE for Sample Pages

The Traveler’s Guide is especially useful for shooters traveling in RVs and motorhomes. The American Rifleman Magazine declared: “This book is a must-have for truck drivers, motor home enthusiasts, campers and other travelers…easy to read and understand, well-organized and concise….” One reader from Texas adds: “I used to think that my RV was the same as my home when it came to gun carry….the Traveler’s Guide set me straight. Now I know my motorhome is subject to the same laws as any vehicle when it comes to guns.”

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March 1st, 2021

Bargain Finder 284: AccurateShooter’s Deals of the Week

AccurateShooter Deals of the Week Weekly Bargain Finder Sale Discount Savings

At the request of our readers, we provide select “Deals of the Week”. Every Sunday afternoon or Monday morning we offer our Best Bargain selections. Here are some of the best deals on firearms, hardware, reloading components, optics, and shooting accessories. Be aware that sale prices are subject to change, and once clearance inventory is sold, it’s gone for good. You snooze you lose.

1. MidwayUSA — Crimson Trace 5-Series Tactical Scope Sale

bushnell scope sale
Very good value — superb FFP optics for PRS/NRL applications

Here are great deals on high-quality First Focal Plane MilRad optics, ideal for PRS/NRL tactical applications. These high-tech Crimson Trace scopes are HALF OFF now. Grab the 3-24x56mm for $889.50 (50% OFF) or the 3-18x50mm for $799.48 (49% OFF). Both feature 34mm main tubes, tons of elevation, and advanced MR1-MIL Advanced illuminated reticles. We’ve looked through these optics and they have good glass and nice controls. These scopes feature EZ Mount Leveling Indicators for quick, precise mounting. All Crimson Trace scopes come with FREE Batteries For Life and a Lifetime Protection Warranty.

2. WEN — WEN 56380i Inverter Generator, $649.99 ($95 OFF)

wen inverter generator
Avoid winter outages — high-quality, high-output generator

This year the Pacific NW and Texas were hit with major, once-in-50-year ice storms that caused massive power outages. (In fact the Editor’s brother was without power for 9 straight days in Oregon.) If keeping the lights on, being able to charge devices, and staying warm is important to you then you NEED a generator. Check out the WEN 56380i 3800-Watt RV-Ready Portable Inverter Generator with fuel shut-Off and electric start. Assembled in the USA, WEN generators boast critical shut-off features to prevent damage, along with important fuel/load gauges. Order one before the next storm catches you off-guard.

3. Creedmoor Sports — Lapua Cartridge Brass In Stock

lapua rifle brass
Get top-quality Lapua brass now without back-orders

Quality reloading components continue to be tough to find, especially for popular calibers. But if you need cases, visit Creedmoor Sport for premium Lapua Rifle Brass . Creedmoor Sports currently has a very wide selection of cartridge types in stock and ready to ship. As of 3/1/2021, you’ll find Lapua brass in the popular .223 Rem, 6mmBR, 6mm Creedmoor, 6.5 Creedmoor, 6.5×284, .260 Rem, .308 Win and more, at reasonable prices.

4. Midsouth — Lock-N-Load Case Prep Duo, $54.14

hornady lock n load prep duo
Very handy, versatile unit performs multiple tasks

This Hornady Lock-N-Load Case Prep Duo lets you accomplish case deburring, chamfering, and primer pocket cleaning all with one affordable power tool. This cordless unit features has a unique twin spindle head that runs the deburrer and chamferer at the same time — that’s handy. And HERE’s a big bonus — you can take off the dual head, swivel the grip, and convert the tool into a handy single-shaft driver you can use for multiple tasks, such as running the 21st Century neck lathe. Check out this review that showcases everything this versatile Hornady Tool can do.

5. EuroOptic — Vortex Spitfire HD Scope Sale, Save up to $200

Vortex spitfire scope sale
Great choice for action shooting and defense rifles — fast reticle design

Vortex spitfire scope saleWish you could have the best of a red dot scope and a magnified optic all in one? Take a look at the Vortex Spitfire HD Red Prism Scopes. These quality scopes feature 3X or 5X magnification, and illuminated reticles with hold-overs. The clutter-free reticle allows FAST target acquisition, making these great for both 3-Gun games and defensive use. And the night illumination is great for hunting use. The 5X model is discounted $200 from $649.99 to $499.00, while the 3X model is $150 off, discounted from $599.99 to $349.99.

NOTE: If you want the widest field of view with no magnification (for short-range disciplines), Vortex also offers the 1X-AR Prism scope for $249.99, $100 off.

6. Sportsmans Warehouse — Savage B22 FV-SR 22LR, $319.99

Savage B22 FV-SR 22LR
Patriotic Stars and Stripes version — nice features for the price

Looking for an accurate .22 LR bolt-action rifle at a good price? Check out the Savage B22 FV-SR 22LR Special Edition a Sportsman’s Warehouse exclusive. The B22 FV-SR has an ergonomically-designed stock, with a high comb more vertical grip. This allows shooters to hold the rifle in a more natural position that puts less pressure on the wrist. The B22 FV-SR features a heavy-contour, suppressor-ready barrel, Picatinny scope rail, and adjustable AccuTrigger.

7. Amazon — Padded 64″x21″ Roll-Up Shooting Mat, $35.99

padded roll up shooting mat
Affordable padded mat rolls up for easy transport

Being comfortable when shooting prone is really important for good results. So you’ll want a good mat that offers some padding along with plenty of room for your gear. If you need an inexpensive mat that checks all the boxes, check out the Redneck Convent Shooters Mat Padded Roll Up Mat . Measuring 64 inches by 21 inches it boasts plenty of room and features 1/2″ padding top to bottom. This mat rolls up for easy storage/transport (Rolled size is 21″x8″) with handy built-in rolling straps. This is also available in Black for $31.99 or Green for $39.99.

8. Amazon — Twod Front and Rear Sandbag Set, $12.99

front rest shooting bags
Very low cost bag set for basic rifle or pistol support

front rest shooting bagsDo you need a simple sandbag support for hunting or sighting-in rifles? Or perhaps you want to try NRL22 but don’t way to spend much on fancy bags. This Twod Shooting Rest Combo offers front and rear bags for just $12.99. These user-fillable bags are made from heavy material. The guns rest on a soft leather top section. There is also a Camo Version of this Twod twin-bag set for $14.99 on Amazon.

9. Amazon — Roxant Viper 10×25 Pocket Scope, $22.95

roxant viper pocket scope
Decent lens, nice molded exterior, weighs just 2.9 ounces

If you want a simple, lightweight easy-to-carry optic, you may want to consider a monocular. This unit will fit in a coat pocket and is very inexpensive. With its compact form factor, 10X magnification, and durable coating, the Roxant Viper 10x25mm Pocket Scope offers good function for the $22.95 price. With minimal 2.9 oz. carry weight and a compact size, this can be a very handy optic for hunters and hikers. This 10X scope has 65% 5-star and 15% 4-star purchaser ratings. However, a few buyers experienced problems with a cloudy lens. If you purchase, inspect the unit carefully during the eligible return period.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hot Deals, Hunting/Varminting, Optics, Tactical 2 Comments »
March 1st, 2021

Five Great Products for Serious Handgun Shooters

Jessie Harrison Pistol ammo aiming

While this site focuses primarily on accurate rifles, we know that most of our readers also own pistols (and many shoot them competitively). After rimfire pistols, probably the most popular handguns in America are 9mm semi-auto pistols. Here are five products we use with our favorite 9mm semi-autos — H&K P7M8 and SIG Sauer P226. You’ll find a great carry case, high-quality electronic muffs, a pistol “range station”, affordable 9mm ammo, and two cool training targets.

1. Mantis Systems — X2 for Dry-Fire, $99.99

Mantis X2 dry fire monitor system
Mantis X2 dry fire monitor system

Built for dry-fire use only, the Mantis X2 ($99.99) provides real-time, shot-by-shot feedback for both pistol and rifle users. You can track multiple training sessions with data-driven insights, and monitor your progress. This unit has earned high user reviews such as: “As a new gun owner the Mantis X is a game changer for me. I have not been able to get to the range during the lockdowns and being able to practice at home [is great].” And another: “Easy to install[.] The App is free and easy to use.”

The Mantis X2 is a good value. The manufacturer states: “There is nothing at this price point that will give you this level of feedback for dry fire.” There are actually four Mantis models: X2 ($99.99), X3 ($169.99), X7 Shotgun ($199.99) and X10 Elite ($249.99). The X3 adds live fire functionality. MORE INFO HERE.

2. CaseCruzer Handgun Cases

CaseCruzer gun pistol case revolver magnum 6-pack 5-pack 4-pack 3-pack

A California company, CaseCruzer, makes the nicest multi-pistol hard cases we’ve ever seen. With capacities from 3 pistols to 6 pistols, these lockable range cases hold handguns securely in angled “quick-draw” slots. In addition to the molded pistol carriers, there are slots for magazines together with a separate compartment for muffs, ammo, and other accessories. Starting at $240.00 MSRP for the Quick Draw 3-Pack, these boxes are expensive, but they offer great protection with great usability. Water-tight and dust-proof, CaseCruzer cases are airline approved (ATA 300).Now that you’ve spent thousands of dollars on the new benchrest, PRS, ELR, or hunting rifle (and thousands more on optics), how are you going to get it to the range or hunting grounds? It’s important to transport your valuable firearms in very high quality gun cases. Good padded soft cases can work, but for long-distance hauling (and all air transport), we recommend hard cases with quality foam inside.

3. Impact Pro Electronic Muffs 30 dB Noise Reduction Rating

Howard Leight Impact Pro Electronic Muffs NRR 30

Howard Leight Impact Pro Electronic Muffs NRR 30When shooting pistols indoors we recommend quality muffs with earplugs underneath, offering double protection. When inside an enclosed range, with other shooters blasting away right next to you, you really need effective hearing protection. But you also need to hear range commands and be able to communicate with your fellow shooters. That’s why we recommend electronic muffs with good foam plugs underneath. That gives you serious hearing protection during live fire, with the ability to hear voices and converse.

For pistol shooting, we like the latest Howard Leight Impact Pro Muffs. These offer an impressive 30 dB Noise Reduction Rating (NRR), an exceptional NRR. In addition, these muffs are pretty comfortable and offer Headphone Functionality so you can connect to your smartphone, MP3 player, or other device. These quality muffs are currently $62.23 on Amazon.com.

4. MTM AC4C Ammo Crate with 4 Ammo Boxes

MTM Ammo Carrier Crate Box

The versatile MTM AC4C Ammo Carrier features four lockable polymer ammo cans in a fitted, four-slot 23.5″ x 11.3″ x 7.5″ carry crate. This makes it easy to haul four full ammo cans. Actual purchasers have raved: “Moments after I received this storage box set I ordered another. Very well-built and great design — a steal at the price.” This popular product is available now at Midsouth for $32.66. The system includes four lockable, O-Ring 11.3″ x 7.2″ x 5″ ammo cans (AC30T) for multi-caliber ammo storage. The crate even includes tie-down points for transport in a cart or ATV.

5. High Contrast Pistol Training Targets

pistol training target

Here are two of our favorite pistol targets. The Splatterburst 12″ x 12″ sight-in target works great for handguns in indoor ranges. Bullet holes appear as bright neon yellow halos. And the contrasting grid lines let you quickly estimate your group size. Each target has five diamonds, and the top of each diamond provides a precise aim point for your front sight. The 12″ Bullseye Pistol Diagnostic Target diagnoses common problems based on shot impact zones. While this target is designed for righties, left-handed shooters can use the target too. Just observe the opposite tips.

Permalink - Articles, Gear Review, Handguns Post comment »
March 1st, 2021

Protect Firearms with Bore-Stores and 3-Layer Storage Bags

Bore-Store Gun Sacks

Our take on Bore-Store Gun sleeves is simple: They work great, so buy them and use them — for ALL your valuable firearms.

These thick, synthetic-fleece sacks cushion your guns, preventing nicks and scratches. The breathable fabric wicks away moisture, and the fibers are coating with corrosion inhibitors. I personally use Bore-Stores for in-safe storage with all my guns, and I have never had one of my guns rust inside a Bore-Store, even when I lived a stone’s throw from the ocean.

Bore-Stores are offered in a wide range of sizes that fit everything from a Snub-nosed revolver to a 33″-barrelled Black Powder Rifle. Bore-Stores can be purchased for $9.97 – $28.97 from Borestores.com. For most scoped rifles, we recommend the 10″x46″ SCR-1 case. The Bore-Store manufacturer, Big Spring Enterprises will also craft custom sizes on request. For a long-barreled F-Class or ELR rig you may need a custom length. Or you can remove the scope and use the 7″x60″ MUS-1 Musket Bore-Store.

Bore-Store Handgun Cases | Bore-Store Rifle Cases | Bore-Store Shotgun Cases

Get Your Guns Out of Foam-lined Cases — They Are Rust Magnets
Just about the worst thing you can do for long-term storage (short of leaving your rifle outside in the rain) is to store firearms in tight, foam-padded cases. The foam in these cases actually collects and retains moisture from the air, acting as the perfect breeding ground for rust. Even in warm summer months, humid air can leave moisture in the foam.

Foam-lined hard caseRemember, those plastic-shelled cases with foam interiors are for transport, not for long-term storage. Don’t repeat the mistake of a wealthy gun collector I know. He stored four valuable Colt Single Action Army (SAA) revolvers in individual foam-padded cases, and locked these away in his gun safe. A year later, every one of his precious SAAs had rusted, some badly.

Consider Military-Style, Triple-Layer Bags for Long-Term Storage
While we prefer Bore-Stores for regularly-used guns, if you have heirloom firearms that will be kept in storage for very long periods without seeing any use, you may want to grease them up and place them in the thin, but rugged three-layer storage bags sold by Brownells. The bags are made from a three-layer laminate of polyester, aluminum, and polyethylene film, with a shiny silver exterior. Though the laminate is thin, the Brownells storage bags are puncture-resistant, and have a 0% moisture transmission rating so moisture can’t get inside. These bags are also resistant to petroleum-based chemicals and they won’t break down even in contact with soil or moisture.

3-layer Brownells storage bagHere’s one VITAL bit of advice for using these bags. Be absolutely sure, before you seal up the bags, that your guns are DRY and that all metal surfaces have been coated with an effective anti-corrosive, such as BoeShield T9 or Eezox. Brownells’ storage bags are inexpensive. A three-pak of 12″x 60″ rifle sacks (item 083-055-003WB) costs just $22.99 — under eight bucks a gun. That’s cheap insurance for rifles and shotguns that may cost thousands of dollars.

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February 28th, 2021

Sunday Gunday: “Red Rocket” .284 Win F-Open Match Rifle

Martin Tardif  Competition Machine F1 Stock F-Class F-Open Chassis Gary Eliseo

Forum member Martin Tardif (aka “Killick” in our Forum) competes with a very accurate .284 Win F-Open rig fitted with a Barnard action, Brux barrel, and Eliseo F1 chassis. Unlike some F-Class shooters, Martin has tried many disciplines over the years, including service rifle and Mid-Range and Long Range sling competition. But he told us, “After experiencing arthritis in my hands and wrists, I decided I would dabble with F-Class. And that has turned into a happy obsession.” Today’s story features the object of that happy obsession — Martin’s tack-driving .284 Win he calls the “Red Rocket”.

F-Open Match Rifle — .284 Winchester “Red Rocket”

by Martin Tardif
This is the story of the new “Red Rocket”, my new F-Open rifle. It’s chambered in .284 Winchester (.317″ neck, .220″ freebore). This rifle features Barnard P action, Barnard single-stage trigger (4 oz.), and Brux 30″ one-inch straight-taper, 1:8.5″-twist barrel fitted with Blake Tuner. The barreled action rides in a Gary Eliseo Competition Machine (CMI) F1 F-Open metal chassis with Marine Corps Red powder coat. On top is March 48x52mm fixed-power High Master scope. In a previous incarnation, this same Barnard action served in a wood-stocked F-Class rig, a Red Retromod built from a modified Anschutz stock. I still have the Barnard action (and trigger), but mostly everything else is new.

Martin Tardif  Competition Machine F1 Stock F-Class F-Open Chassis Gary Eliseo
Here’s the .284 Win “Red Rocket” with CMI F1 Stock, Barnard action, Brux barrel, and Blake Tuner on my SEB Mini at Burbank Rifle and Revolver Club in SoCal.

My previous F-Class rifle started out as a Palma rifle back around 2008. With a modified Anschutz prone stock, that .308 Win Palma sling gun served me well, helping me earn the 2009 California State Palma Championship. Much later I grafted more wood on and whittled that same stock into an F-Open specimen (shown below). That did get me to Long Range High Master but it definitely had limitations. For one it had annoying flex in the fore-end and the buttstock was not aligned with the barrel channel.

Martin Tardif Competition Machine F1 Stock F-Class F-Open Chassis Gary Eliseo

I wanted to upgrade my stock to get a more consistent, better-shooting F-Open performer. So in April of 2020 I contacted Gary Eliseo of Competition Machine and ordered one of his streamlined, F1 “boom-stick” chassis units. These feature a very low Center of Gravity. I sent Gary my Barnard action and had Brux send him a barrel that I had won at the 2020 SWN raffle.

This video shows Martin shooting the “Red Rocket” in California

This rifle has been a success from the very start. At its first big match, the 2020 California State Championships, the Red Rocket tied for First Place on points but finished second overall on X-count.

Martin tells us: “The new red Eliseo stock is phenomenal and far surpasses the old red stock on my RetroMod project previously featured on the Daily Bulletin. The three things I like best about this Eliseo F1 chassis system are:

1. The lean, clean, efficient engineering and styling.
2. Easy manipulation of buttstock and cheek piece adjustments, ease of bolt removal.
3. Inherent confidence in its straightness and the durability of all the parts and finish.”

Martin Tardif Competition Machine F1 Stock F-Class F-Open Chassis Gary Eliseo

“I’m extremely impressed with the potential of this rig and I have still yet to fiddle with the tuner and test some of my Wolf/KVB primers. It’s all gravy now.” — Martin Tardif

I received the finished rifle in September and was impressed with its stark and consummate functionality and there is no doubt as to that function. The collinear aspect from any angle suggests a Red Rocket Car on the Bonneville Salt Flats, so that’s what I call this rig.

Martin Tardif  Competition Machine F1 Stock F-Class F-Open Chassis Gary Eliseo

Reloading Methods and Load Development
My virgin brass prep starts with a .284 neck mandrel with the occasional squirt of WD-40, then to the drill press to turn the necks to 0.014″ wall thickness with my PMA Model B turner. After a quick dip in the media tumbler I run the whole batch through my DIY cake pan annealer and they’re ready for sizing. I like the Whidden Gunworks full length bushing dies. I use a .310″ bushing and a loaded round measures .312″. After sizing, I run the cases through the tumbler for 10-15 minutes to clean them up and then they are primed. I’m using my stash of S&B primers with an RCBS benchtop primer seater with a Holland Perfect Primer Seater add-on. I do point my 180-grain Berger Hybrid bullets with a Hoover die (see below).

Martin Tardif Competition Machine F1 Stock F-Class F-Open Chassis Gary Eliseo

Martin Tardif Competition Machine F1 Stock F-Class F-Open Chassis Gary Eliseo

Here is Martin’s reloading bench. From left to right: A&D FX-120i Force Restoration Scale with Auto-Trickler V3, Hoover Bullet-Tipping Die, Whidden .284 Win FL Sizing Die with PMA click-adjust lock ring, Hodgdon H4350 powder. Martin reports: “I’m also using some of F-Class John’s Auto Trickler Methods — using two powder cups to speed up the process, hash marks on Auto Trickler gear drive, and minimal openings on FX-120i wind guards. These all improve the powder measuring.

Load Development and Accuracy Testing in Competition
I started load testing in November 2020. I tried both H4831sc and H4350 at 100 yards. I usually have excellent results with H4831sc but the Brux tube stubbornly preferred H4350. So I took a preliminary recipe (52.2 grains) to the California Long Range Championship and tied for First Place on points but got beat on Xs. Having seen a little too much vertical at the state match, I went with a lighter load that looked good for vertical at 100 yards (51.8 grains — see photo below). That load got me an overall win at our 1000-yard club match.

Martin Tardif Competition Machine F1 Stock F-Class F-Open Chassis Gary Eliseo

I wanted to fine tune that load so I started a seating depth test. I did a final head to head test, comparing .015″ jump (away from first lands contact) and .018″ jump at 1000 yards. The .015″ jump load was the clear winner. This 15-round group was shot at 1000 yards with no flags on an overcast day with no mirage.

Martin Tardif Competition Machine F1 Stock F-Class F-Open Chassis Gary Eliseo

The ShotMarker screenshot above shows 15 shots at 1000 yards with bullets seated .015″ out, switching winds and no flags, just watching the mirage. I added .25 MOA up after the first round ‘9’ (me fighting a clean barrel on first shot) and went to town.

Advice for New F-Class Shooters — by Martin Tardif

1. Watch a Top Competitor — Find a good shooter that you respect and watch and take note of their equipment, how they set up to shoot, how they shoot, what conditions they shoot in or don’t. Ideally you should ask to be squadded with them (if possible) so you can score for them. That way you’re not dividing your attention from the shooter you’re supposed to be scoring for. Be mindful not to pester them while they are setting up. Best to wait until they have finished shooting and try to ask questions off the firing line, others still shooting need to concentrate.

2. Cartridge Selection for F-Open– Go to Accurate Shooter’s 7mm Cartridge Guide and scroll to the .284 Winchester section by Charles Ballard. You can read further about the 7mm WSM and 7mm SAUM but for a caliber that’s not fussy you should stick with the .284 Win.

3. Reloading Equipment — To win, you really need ammo as perfect as you can make it. You should be able to find out everything you need to know about reloading equipment via the Accurateshooter Forum’s Reloading and Competition areas. It’s a one-stop shopping brain trust for everything F-Class, Sling, and Benchrest. And the Forum Marketplace is literally a never ending ‘Gun Show’ of For Sale items. It’s a great place to buy quality used stuff for newbies.

As a final bit of advice — BELIEVE the wind — it’s smarter than you are!

Commentary on Metal Chassis vs Wood Stock
I previously had a wood F-Class stock so flexible you could easily pinch the barrel to the fore-end with one hand and hold it there. My Eliseo metal chassis is MUCH more rigid. I don’t think there is any argument that a metal stock is more rigid than wood. I also think a metal stock with its monolithic properties has a more consistent cross-sectional density along its length than a wood stock would have due to the vagaries of grain structure. However I have no experimental data to support that theory, or how that might positively affect shot to shot consistency. I CAN say that the gun shoots better, with smaller groups and higher scores, than the previous wood stock version.

Martin Tardif Competition Machine F1 Stock F-Class F-Open Chassis Gary Eliseo

The CMI F1 chassis has three main sections: rear assembly, main assembly, and fore-end. The main assembly is a 27″-long solid billet section with milled cavities for the rear assembly and trigger group. This also supports the action V-Block which cradles the full length of the action. The V-Block is mated to the top of the billet in a milled channel but doesn’t touch the sides to avoid uneven harmonics. The rear assembly hold the LOP-adjustable butt pad/bag rider and “easy off” cheek piece. The 3-piece fore-end is fitted to the main section with screws. The complete F1 chassis with grip and cheek piece weighs 6 pounds.

Martin Tardif Competition Machine F1 Stock F-Class F-Open Chassis Gary Eliseo
Martin Tardif Competition Machine F1 Stock F-Class F-Open Chassis Gary Eliseo

F1 Chassis Maker Gary Eliseo Talks about His Design
The F1 was designed to incorporate the most important features needed in an F-Open rifle system. Top priority was placed on how the rifle tracked. The chassis had to be perfectly straight, and immune to weather so it will stay straight. On the F1, the fore-end is designed to keep the centerline of the barreled action as low as possible. This super-low center of gravity, along with the tall vertical sides, keep torque to a minimum, so the gun doesn’t twist or hop, but instead comes straight back.

Martin Tardif Competition Machine F1 Stock F-Class F-Open Chassis Gary Eliseo

The F1 chassis can be fitted with bedding blocks to accommodate any action. These action bedding blocks are carefully epoxy-bedded to the chassis so the customer’s barreled action is perfectly in line with the central axis of the chassis. In addition to optimizing tracking, I also took a look at how the shooter interfaced with the rifle. I wanted the cheek piece to be narrow so that the shooter would not be forced into applying side pressure on the stock to get their eye behind the scope. The cheek piece is also easy to remove for those who shoot without one. This also facilitates bolt removal.

If you’re interested in an F1 F-Open Chassis, contact Gary via the Competition Machine eMail page. The current price for an F1 Chassis with Cerakote finish (any color) is $1150.00. Lead time is about 12 weeks.

Martin Tardif Competition Machine F1 Stock F-Class F-Open Chassis Gary Eliseo

Martin Tardif Eliseo Competition Machine F1 Stock F-Class F-Open Hollands Gunsmithing Perfect Primer Seater

Green Tools for Red Rocket — Martin uses an RCBS Rock Chucker single-stage press on an Inline Fabrication UltraMount. Primers are seated with an RCBS Bench Primer fitted with Holland’s Gunsmithing Perfect Primer Seater Adapter. This provides ultra-consistent primer seating.

F-Class Match Strategies for California Ranges
My strategy for a match clearly depends on the specific location. For instance, at my home range, the Burbank Rifle and Revolver Club, which has several cuts and gullies crossing the canyon, the wind comes primarily from NNE and since the range faces slightly NNE the predominant condition will be a head or right wind so I’m looking for R to L mirage and left angled flags.

By contrast, Coalinga CA is a much more open/exposed range which can make it much more challenging. When you see all the flags going against the mirage for the majority of the string (after you’ve gone for record of course) that can be tough. So I like to watch the wind while I’m scoring and for a few minutes during sighters and shoot them in a few ‘looks’ if I can get them. But sometimes you have to go with your gut if your sighters whisper “go-for-record-you-knucklehead” and so it’s off to the races. It often seems like I should have just chased the spotter when I’m waiting out a fishtail or let-up there.

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February 28th, 2021

Experiment with Fore and Aft Rifle Position on Rest and Bag

Benchrest stock

To get the best accuracy out of any benchrest rifle, you need to find the optimal position of front rest and rear bag. The important point to remember is that each rig is different. One gun may perform best with the front rest right at the tip of the forearm (Position ‘D’ in photo), while another gun will work best with the rest positioned much further back. This Editor’s own 6mmBR rifle has a laminated stock that is pretty flexy in the front. It shoots best with the front rest’s sandbag located a good 6″ back from the forearm tip (position ‘A’).

Here’s some benchrest advice that can help you reduce vertical and shoot tighter groups… without spending another penny. Many benchrest shooters spend a fortune on equipment and devote countless hours to meticulous handloading, but they never experiment with their rifle’s position/balance on the bags. This article explains why you should test your rifle in various positions. What you learn may surprise you (and improve your scores).

Next time you go to the range, experiment with the position of your rifle on the front rest, and try a couple different positions for the rear bag. You may find that the rifle handles much better after you’ve made a small change in the placement of your gun on the bags. Recoil can be tamed a bit, and tracking can improve significantly, if you optimize the front rest and rear bag positioning.

front rest Sally benchrest IBS
This competitor has the front rest positioned fairly far forward but not all the way out. Note the stop on the front rest — this limits forward stock travel.

A small change in the position of the forearm on the front rest, or in the placement of the rear bag, can make a big difference in how your gun performs.

Balance Your Gun BEFORE You Spend Hours Tuning Loads
In the pursuit of ultimate accuracy, shooters may spend countless hours on brass prep, bullet selection, and load tuning. Yet the same shooters may pay little attention to how their gun is set-up on the bags. When you have acquired a new rifle, you should do some basic experimentation to find the optimal position for the forearm on the front rest, and the best position for the rear bag. Small changes can make a big difference.

Joel Kendrick

Joel Kendrick, past IBS 600-yard Shooter of the Year, has observed that by adjusting forearm position on the front rest, he can tune out vertical. He has one carbon-fiber-reinforced stock that is extremely rigid. When it was placed with the front rest right under the very tip of the forearm, the gun tended to hop, creating vertical. By sliding the whole gun forward (with more forearm overhang ahead of the front sandbag), he was able to get the whole rig to settle down. That resulted in less vertical dispersion, and the gun tracked much better.

stock position benchrest forearm sandbag front rest
Fore/aft stock position is important even with very wide fore-ends.

Likewise, the placement of the rear bag is very important. Many shooters, by default, will simply place the rear bag the same distance from the front rest with all their guns. In fact, different stocks and different calibers will NOT behave the same. By moving the rear bag forward and aft, you can adjust the rifle’s overall balance and this can improve the tracking significantly. One of our shooters had a Savage 6BR F-Class rifle. By default he had his rear bag set almost all the way at the end of the buttstock. When he slid the rear bag a couple inches forward the gun tracked much better. He immediately noticed that the gun returned to point of aim better (crosshairs would stay on target from shot to shot), AND the gun torqued (twisted) less. The difference was quite noticeable.

A small change in the position of the forearm on the front rest, or in the placement of the rear bag, can make a big difference in how your gun performs. You should experiment with the forearm placement, trying different positions on the front rest. Likewise, you can move the rear bag back and forth a few inches. Once you establish the optimal positions of front rest and rear bag, you should find that your gun tracks better and returns to battery more reliably. You may then discover that the gun shoots smaller groups, with less vertical dispersion. And all these benefits are possible without purchasing any expensive new gear.

Rifle photo courtesy Johnson’s Precision Gunsmithing (Bakersfield, CA).

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February 28th, 2021

Wow Factor: Muzzle Brake Blast Patterns Revealed

Precision Rifle Blog Muzzle Brake Test Blast Powder

A while back, the Precision Rifle Blog conducted a fascinating study of Muzzle Brakes. PRB figured out a way to show the actual “blast pattern” of gasses ejecting from the ports of muzzle brakes. The result was a fascinating (and eye-catching) series of images revealing the distinctive gas outflows of 20+ different types of muzzle brakes. If you are considering buying and installing a muzzle brake on your rifle, you should definitely review this important PRB Muzzle Brake Test.

GO to PRB Muzzle Brake Blast Pattern TEST PAGE »

For a prone shooter, particularly on dusty, dirty or sandy ground, muzzle blast is a major bummer. Muzzle blast can be very disturbing — not just for the trigger-puller but for persons on either side of the gun as well. Some muzzle brakes send a huge shockwave back towards the shooter, and others send blast towards the ground, kicking dirt and debris into the prone shooter’s face. If there was a way to illustrate those factors — shockwave and debris — that might help shooters select one brake design over another.

Precision Rifle Blog Muzzle Brake Test Blast Powder

Cal Zant at PrecisionRifleBlog.com applied a unique blend of creativity and resourcefulness to try to answer that question for 20+ muzzle brakes. Using high-speed photography and household products, he captured the blast pattern of 20+ different brake designs for easy side-by-side comparison. Can you figure out how Cal managed to show muzzle brake blasts so clearly? His “hi-viz” solution, revealed in the article, is very clever. See the eye-opening results for 20+ brakes, with illustrative photos, by visiting the Precision Rifle Blog Muzzle Brake Ground Signature Test Page.

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February 27th, 2021

Gear Review: Lyman Reloading Press Stand — “It’s a Keeper”

lyman universal press stand review Dillon 550 Forster Co-Ax bench lift reloading

I absolutely love using this press stand. I use it with my Forster Co-Ax as well as my Dillon 550. The stand mounts those presses at the right height to minimize fatigue and maximize torque. Some products I merely review and return but this one is a keeper and won’t be leaving my bench anytime soon. — F-Class John

Lyman Universal Press Stand REVIEW

Product Review by F-Class John
Positioning your press at the optimal height is one of the oldest problems in reloading. Most presses sit low off the edge leading to uncomfortable arm strain or inconsistent pressure being applied while using. Lyman has set out to fix that problem with a reasonably-priced ($54.99 at Midsouth) press riser that works with the vast majority of reloading presses. This unit will raise just about any press up off your bench securely, allowing you to working more comfortably from a standing position. This also frees up vital bench space UNDER the press. Unfortunately this press stand is so popular it is back-ordered at most vendors.

lyman universal press stand review Dillon 550 Forster Co-Ax bench lift reloading

I have used a variety of presses over the years. At times I’ve run into issues mounting a press at a level that doesn’t promote arm or hand strain during normal operations. In the past I’ve used blocks of wood or even tried other brands’ proprietary stands. But I had very limited success with those options. Accordingly, I was very excited to give the Lyman Universal Press Stand a chance.

Lyman’s Universal Press Stand comes complete with side plates, two different top plates, and a large collection of mounting hardware. The two top plates are pre-drilled for numerous popular Single Stage or Progressive presses. Helpful diagrams and instructions show which side of the top plate you need to use. The pre-drilled holes accommodate a variety of presses from RCBS, Dillon, Lyman, Redding, and Hornady. But surprisingly, the plates are not pre-configured for the Forster Co-Ax Press.

CLICK to WATCH VIDEO Showing Lyman Universal Press Stand

Setting up the stand was very simple. The two sides bolt to the lower shelf unit at which point you attach the top plate. All the supplied bolts made this a breeze and once everything was snugged down, I was able to place it on my bench where I wanted it and mark the drill holes to mount it. After securing the stand to my bench it was time to mount my press.

Lyman Universal Press Stand with Dillon 550 Press

lyman universal press stand review Dillon 550 Forster Co-Ax bench lift reloading

Adapting Lyman Universal Press Stand for Forster Co-Ax
At the time of testing I was primarily using a Forster Co-Ax press. With no pre-drilled Co-Ax configuration for either Lyman top plate, I decided to customize the blank side of one of the top plates. I opted to position the mounting holes so that the press could sit 100% on top of the mounting plate and not just off one edge. I found this process simple to execute. Mark your drill holes, then drill the plate. This can easily be done with regular drill bits although using a step-bit worked faster and cleaner to help enlarge the holes just a little when I needed some extra clearance.

lyman universal press stand review Dillon 550 Forster Co-Ax bench lift reloading

Lyman Universal Press Stand Is Stable and Strong
Once set-up, I found the stand to be incredibly stable. The design allows for full force to be applied to the press no matter what the operation. Having used this Lyman Press stand regularly over the past few months with both my Co-Ax and a Dillon 550c, I still find myself loving it. The height is perfect and allows me to load as much as I like without straining my arm or getting fatigued. With an attractive price point (under $55.00 street price) and a simple design, I feel this is a great system for those looking for a secure and raised platform for their reloading presses.

The Universal Press Stand comes with two plates. If you have different presses that fit each plate you could easily swap presses just by changing plates while leaving the presses attached. It’s less functional if you have two presses that share one plate and would require removing one press before installing the next one.

lyman universal press stand review Dillon 550 Forster Co-Ax bench lift reloading

Lyman Press Stand Unboxing and Set-Up (KFW Video Review):

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February 27th, 2021

Fundamentals of Marksmanship — Learn from a Champion

USAMU Basic Riflemans Course SFC Brandon Green High Power Shooting Training

The U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) has produced an excellent series of videos covering the Basic Rifleman’s Course. If you are getting started in High Power shooting, or want to improve your position shooting skills, this series is well worth watching. And these videos are not just for service rifle shooters — even bench shooters can benefit from these videos, particularly Part 5, which explains how to estimate wind speed and direction. The lead instructor for these videos is SFC Brandon Green, three-time National High Power Champion, and 2017 Service Rifle Champion. When SFC Green talks, you should listen.

SFC Brandon Green is a shooting superstar. Green won his third NRA National High Power Rifle Championship in 2018 at Camp Atterbury, Indiana. He dominated the HP Championship cycle, finishing eight points and ten Xs ahead of his nearest competitor. Brandon also won High Power National Championships in 2015 and 2013. One of the greatest marksmen in the nation’s history, SFC Green excels at all positions, both rapid-fire and slow-fire.

Part 5 — Wind and Weather Estimation (Very Useful for All Shooters)


Note: This video includes a hit location “target analysis” in the first 6 minutes.

Part 4 — Minute of Angle Explained

Part 3 — Ballistics and Zeroing

Part 2 — Positions, Sight Alignment, and Natural Point of Aim (Very Useful)

USAMU Basic Riflemans Course SFC Brandon Green High Power Shooting Training

Part 1 — Aiming and Sight Picture

SFC Brandon Green 2017 CMP Camp Perry USAMU Service Rifle
SFC Brandon Green (left above) has set multiple National Records at Camp Perry.

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February 27th, 2021

Indoor Range Etiquette — Safe Gun Practices Indoors

Safety Video NSSF Indoor Range Etiquette

There has been a long, cold winter in many parts of the USA. So if you want to maintain your shooting skills, shooting indoors may be the only convenient option. When shooting indoors you should always be extra careful and follow all key gun safety practices and adhere to proper range “Etiquette”.

The NSSF (NSSF) offers a useful Range Safety and Etiquette video. This 8.5-minute video explains safe practices, especially at indoor ranges. In the video, the moderator list the basic rules of gun safety, before covering key range etiquette topics such as range officer commands, how to uncase your firearm on the range when you first arrive, and what to do if a firearm is accidentally dropped. There are also safety tips specific to handling both semi-automatic handguns and revolvers.

Safety Video NSSF Indoor Range Etiquette

BAD RANGE BEHAVIOR — Five Things NOT to Do at the Range

Here are the five worst behaviors we’ve seen at indoor ranges. These behaviors are both dangerous and inconsiderate. Any one of these behaviors can get you permanently banned from an indoor range.

1. Sweeping other individuals after loading a weapon behind the firing line is very bad. All your weapons should be empty until you reach your shooting station.

2. Turning the handgun sideways while trying to clear a malfunction or insert/remove a magazine. This will point the muzzle at a fellow shooter. Or, after shooting a gun, the shooter fails to clear the weapon and then places the gun somewhere near the shooting station with the muzzle in an unsafe position.

3. Reacting unpredictably when firing a high recoil handgun. We’ve seen people take a second shot by accident with the muzzle way off target.

4. Not obeying range commands — in particular continuing to shoot during called cease-fires.

5. Poorly aimed shooting that hits target frames or carriers, causing ricochets.

Double-Up on Hearing Protection When Shooting Indoors
When shooting pistols indoors we recommend quality muffs with earplugs underneath, offering double protection. When inside an enclosed range, with other shooters blasting away right next to you, you really need effective hearing protection. But you also need to hear range commands and be able to communicate with your fellow shooters. That’s why we recommend electronic muffs with plugs underneath.

Howard Leight Impact Pro Electronic Muffs NRR 30

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February 26th, 2021

Hodgdon Powder Update — Why Are There Shortages?

Hodgdon Powder report supply pricing shortage

As any handloader knows, popular reloading powders have become difficult to find. And when you do locate the powder you want, the price might be twice what you paid a year ago (or even more on auction sites). Across the nation, shooters are asking “What gives? Why are powder prices so high? And when are the shortages going to end?”

Hodgdon Powder Company (“Hodgdon”), supplier of Hodgdon, IMR, and Winchester powders*, has attempted to answer these questions with a “Powder Update” posted yesterday. Along with addressing the shortage issues, Hodgdon explains the challenges involved in increasing production in the USA and/or increasing imports from overseas. The ultra-popular H4198, H4895, Varget, H4350, and H4831 family of powders are produced by ADI in Australia**. So Hodgdon can’t ship more Varget or H4350 in the USA unless Hodgdon can get more from Australia.

In the Powder Update reprinted below, Hodgdon answers many key questions, and debunks some misconceptions. For example, Hodgdon is NOT selling its powders on auction sites such as Gunbroker. That is completely false.

POWDER UPDATE from Hodgdon Powder Company

Hodgdon Powder report supply pricing shortageWHY CAN’T HODGDON SHIP MORE POWDER?
The current powder situation is due to a record demand for all reloading components and NOT a reduction in the supply of powder. With long-time handloaders looking to stock up and new gun owners looking for ammunition, there is an unprecedented demand for powder and other reloading components. We shipped a record amount of powder in 2020 and will ship even more in 2021. We are doing everything in our power to get the most powder into consumer hands this year. We are running overtime in our facilities, have hired additional staff and have leveraged relationships with shipping partners to add new shipping options.

WHY CAN’T HODGDON BUILD ANOTHER POWDER PLANT?
The “normal” powder demand for the United States would not support an additional plant. Hodgdon, like most companies, cannot afford to build a new production facility then have it sit idle until demand spikes.

WHY IS HODGDON SELLING POWDER TO THE GOVERNMENT?
Hodgdon does NOT sell powder directly to the government. We sell some powder to manufacturers making ammunition for our military, but that is a small part of our business.

WHY IS HODGDON SELLING POWDER TO AMMUNITION MANUFACTURERS?
The heart of our business is smokeless powder for the handloading enthusiast. Yes, we sell some powder to ammo manufacturers, but that is a small part of our business. Every day, we receive calls from potential OEM customers looking for powder to load in ammunition. We politely decline so we can focus on our long-term, handloading customers.

WHY IS HODGDON SELLING POWDER ON AUCTION SITES?
We don’t. Period. We recently began selling a limited amount of powder on our OWN websites but prioritize our shipments to our traditional sales channels to maximize powder availability at sporting goods and gun shops. [Editor: If you see Hodgdon powder on auction sites, that is listed by third party vendors.]

WHY IS THE PRICE OF POWDER SO HIGH ON THE INTERNET?
We do not set sale prices or MSRPs for the price of our powders at retail, nor do we encourage any of our retailers or dealers to sell on auction sites, but we cannot control what happens AFTER we sell to our traditional sales channels.

Hodgdon Powder report supply pricing shortage


* Hodgdon also sells certain Ramshot, Accurate, and Blackhorn powders along with Goex black powder.
** Here’s a list of ADI to Hodgdon Powder equivalents from the ADI FAQ Page:

ADI / Hodgdon Propellants Equivalents
ADI Powder Hodgdon/IMR Name
Trail Boss
AR2207
AR2219
BM2
Bench Mark 8208
AR2206H
AR2208
AR2209
AR2213H/AR2213SC
AR2217
AR2225
AR2218
Trail Boss
H4198
H322
Benchmark
8208 XBR
H4895
Varget
H4350
H4831 / H4831SC
H1000
Retumbo
H50BMG
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February 26th, 2021

Mental Training for Shooting Sports — Recommended Resources

marksmanship training mental game chip lohman

To win in competitive shooting you need an accurate rifle, excellent ammo, good sights/optics, and good physical fitness. But in addition, there is the “mental game”. You need to be mentally prepared for the match. You should be focused yet relaxed, and be able to deal with stresses from a bad shot or rapid wind change. Experts say you also want to visualize the perfect shot.

One great Shooting Sports USA article, Shooting is 90% Mental, was penned by Chip Lohman (SSUSA’s former Editor). With the help of two very smart Ph.D types, Judy Tant and Mike Keyes, Lohman examines the mental processes involved in the shooting sports. Chip’s co-authors have impressive credentials. Dr. Judy Tant is a Clinical Psychologist and National Bullseye Pistol Champion. Dr. Michael J. Keyes, is a licensed Psychiatrist and former physician for the U.S. Shooting Team. CLICK HERE to read article.

Recommended Books to Focus Your Mental Game and Improve Your Shooting
Along with the article above, there are a number of good books than can help you improve your mental game and perform better in competition. Here are seven recommended books that can help your mental game and shooting skills. These are available from Creedmoor Sports and Amazon.com.

Mental Game Books at Creedmoor Sports

Sport Psychology and Competition: The Psyche of the Shot
This book is a guide to systematically preparing for shooting matches. It contains 1,000 pictures, 200 exercises, and a 6-week training plan.

The Bullseye Mind
Bullseye Mind is the first mental training book written specifically for sport shooters.

Mental Training in Shooting

Mental Training in Shooting
Mental training in Shooting” is a practical book packed with good, straightforward advice about techniques and mental preparation.

Mental Game and Marksmanship Books on Amazon

Mental Preparation for Shooting Matches

Advice from Emil Praslick
Along with these books we offer some smart advice from Emil Praslick III, former USAMU coach. Considered one of the best wind readers on the planet, Praslick also was known for his ability to help his shooters master the “mental game”. Here is an article from the CMP Archives in which Praslick explains how to focus your mind to achieve greater success.

Emil Praslick

Thinking Your Way to Success
by Emil Praslick
Why does it seem that the same small group of shooters wins the majority of the matches? What is the difference among shooters who are technically equal? Confidence. A confident shooter is free to execute his shots without the fear of failure, i.e. shooting a poor shot.

Negative thoughts (can’t, won’t be able to, etc.) will destroy a skilled performance. The mind’s focus will not be on executing the task, but on projecting fear and self-doubt. Fear is the enemy, confidence is the cure. How does a shooter on the eve of an important match … attain the confidence needed to perform up to his potential? A pre-competition mental plan can assist in acquiring that positive mental state. The plan can be broken down into a few phases.

Build a feeling of preparedness. Developing and executing a plan to organize your equipment and pre-match routine will aid you in feeling prepared on match day.

Avoid negative and stressful thoughts. Focusing on “winning” the match or shooting for a specific score (like making the “cut” or making the President’s 100) can cause undue stress. Good shooters focus on aspects that are within their control: their sight picture, their sight alignment, their position. Each shot should be treated as an individual event.

Train stage-specific tasks during your practice sessions. Instead of shooting matches or practice matches only, include some drills that focus on your problem areas. Training in this manner will assist your level of confidence.

As part of your pre-match routine, imagine yourself shooting perfect shots. Visualize getting into the perfect position, acquiring a perfect sight picture, and perfect trigger control.

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February 26th, 2021

7 SAFE: Seven Vital Safety Tips for Reloaders

seven reloading safety tips powder primers brownells manual

You can never be too safe when hand-loading your own ammunition. This helpful Brownells video outlines the Seven Fundamental Reloading Safety Tips. This is important information for novice hand-loaders and a good refresher for those with reloading experience!

Summary of the Seven Safety Tips:

1. Store your reloading supplies in a safe and dry location, away from children and away from any possible source of ignition. It is also smart to keep your powder and primers separate.

2. Get and use respected reloading manuals, especially for new cartridges. Start low and work up slowly while watching for warning signs of pressure and/or case fatigue.

3. Locate your reloading activity where you will not be distracted. If you get interrupted, stop. (Distractions will eventually lead to mistakes.)

4. Do NOT mix powders. Keep your powders clearly marked and dated. You can use masking tape to write the date on the container.

5. If you load the same cartridge type for different firearms, make sure your ammo headspaces properly in each gun.

6. Check cases frequently. Look for split necks, case head separation or other signs of fatigue and excessive pressure.

7. If reloading military brass, be aware that case capacity is usually reduced, and initial loads should be at least 10-15% lower than published data.


Here are some other tips that will help your avoid making costly mistakes (such as using the wrong powder, or undercharging a case):

  • Powder Type — Always double-check the label on your powder containers. After placing powder in the powder measure, put a piece of tape on the measure with the powder type written on it. Some guys write the powder type on a card and place that right in the hopper.
  • Scale Drift — Electronic balances can drift. If you are using a digital powder scale, calibrate the scale with a test weight every 50 rounds or so.
  • Case Fill — If you throw more than one charge at a time, look INSIDE every case before seating a bullet. Squib charges can be dangerous if you don’t notice them before firing the next round.
  • Progressive Presses — When using a progressive press, consider using an RCBS Lock-Out Die. This will detect a low charge and stop the machine. These dies will work with RCBS, Hornady, and Dillon progressives.

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February 25th, 2021

Canadian Gun Confiscation Starting Soon

Canada Trudeau AR-15 gun confiscation government Larry Keene

The Great Northern Gun Grab is About to Begin
Article By Larry Keane, NSSF Gen. Counsel and Sr. VP (Gov’t Affairs)

New Gun Control Measures
Prime Minister Trudeau fulfilled his ill-advised promise by announcing the introduction of a bill in Canada’s Parliament, labeled C-21, that would usher in crushing gun restrictions. Included in the bill is everything from a provision to allow anyone to petition a police chief to revoke a firearm license and the courts to seize firearms for up to 30 days. The bill includes a magazine ban for handguns with a capacity greater than 10 rounds and centerfire rifle magazines with a capacity greater than five rounds. It would impose a strict regimen for those who choose not to participate in the confiscation program with onerous and nearly impossible requirements to keep their firearms. A two-year amnesty period for owners of these now-banned firearms will expire in April 2022.

Canada Trudeau AR-15 gun confiscation government Larry Keene

Canada Trudeau AR-15 gun confiscation government Larry KeeneGun Confiscation
The biggest concern of this gun control push is the outright confiscation of firearms by the government. Prime Minister Trudeau and his allies are labeling it as a government “buyback.” However, this is using Canadian taxpayer funds for the government to buy back something it never owned in the first place.

More shocking is that no government official will put a price tag on what this would cost. Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said the government will have a better picture of the cost when it knows how many owners want to “sell” their firearms and for how much, according to a Canadian Broadcasting Channel (CBC) report. Minister Blair guessed it would run between $300-400 million if 150-200,000 gun owners demand $1,300 per firearm. Minister Blair earlier pegged the cost at $600 million.

Critics argue the cost would be much higher. Those critics were right about Canada’s previous gun registration scheme being a colossal failure with an enormous price tag. That was pitched at costing only $2 million but ran over $2.7 billion before being scrapped. The same critics are pointing to New Zealand’s confiscation model and [estimate] the Canadian cost at $1.6-$5 billion in just the first year. That’s just administrative costs, not including the bounty Prime Minister Trudeau would pay for each firearm.

Noncompliance — Are There Alternatives?
Canadians who don’t participate in surrendering their firearms to the government will be forced to endure a rigorous set of rules and inspections to keep their firearms – while they can and while they’re alive. Those who don’t hand over their firearms could keep them under strict conditions to not use, import, further acquire, sell or bequeath them. Those individuals would also be required to complete the Canadian Restricted Firearm Safety Course and upgrade their licenses to a “Restricted Possession and Acquisition Licence.” Of course, this would incur all associated course and license fees, along with registering any firearms with the Firearms Registrar, complying with enhanced storage requirements and periodically providing information on firearm storage to ensure compliance.

But Wait, There’s More
The proposed confiscation law would be so much more than just a gun grab. It would also give municipalities the option of enacting their own local ban on handguns. Some local laws might not go that far. Local laws might only regulate home storage of handguns, requiring them to be stored at shooting clubs and ranges. This would create a patchwork of differing gun control laws and pitfalls for Canadian gun owners. Enforcement would become a nightmare.

Matt DeMille of Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, told the CBC, “Adopting measures across the province in a patchwork is going to be very difficult for people to understand.” Conservative public safety critic Shannon Stubbs added, “This part of the bill doesn’t address the major problem, which is the illicit use of illegal guns in crime.”

Another provision in the bill would make it illegal to advertise a firearm that depicts violence against a person. Read strictly, that would make it a crime to advertise a gun as a self-defense tool. Instead of taking on the criminals who misuse firearms, Prime Minister Trudeau would lock up advertisers who tell his citizens they don’t have to be willing victims and can use firearms to defend themselves.

“Gun ownership in Canada is a privilege… not a right.” — Public Safety Min. Bill Blair

This sounds like a dystopian fairy tale, but the reality is this is happening on the doorstep of the United States. Minister Blair made it clear why Prime Minister Trudeau is able to get away with it: “Gun ownership in Canada, in this country, is a privilege and not a right,” Minister Blair explained to Canada’s Global News. It’s a privilege that’s predicated on the strict adherence to our laws, our regulations, and our restrictions.”

Opposition to Confiscation Program
That’s not stopping opponents from saying Prime Minister Trudeau is overstepping. The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police said it won’t support a plan for handgun bans. Vancouver police chief Adam Palmer heads the organization and previously said there are laws against the illegal use of handguns. Further gun control laws won’t solve this problem.

Manitoba Premier Brian Palliste said the handgun ban is “not going to work.” Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe is critical of Prime Minister Trudeau’s gun grabs. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney denounced the moves for targeting law-abiding gun owners and not criminals. Ontario’s Premier Doug Ford said the national government should focus on enforcing laws and putting criminals behind bars, not seizing guns from law-abiding citizens.

In light of President Joe Biden’s gun control wish list, it’s worth nothing the importance of the 27 words of the Second Amendment. It’s also worth watching the cost of dollars and rights an out-of-control gun control agenda can do to a nation’s citizens.

Larry Keane is Senior Vice President of Government and Public Affairs and General Counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

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February 25th, 2021

Shiraz Balolia Book Recounts Remarkable Business Success Story

Shiraz Balolia biography book Grizzly Industrial F-Class

If you are a F-Class competitor or use machine tools, chances are you know Shiraz Balolia. Shiraz is one of America’s top F-Class shooters, an all-star competitor who has won major titles, including three straight Canadian F-Open National Championships. Shiraz also owns Grizzly Industrial Inc., a large, successful enterprise he founded in 1983. For 38 years, Grizzly has provided quality tools to wood-workers and metal workers. Grizzly’s catalog is now over 700 pages.

Shiraz’s life story is an interesting one. He came to the USA from Kenya, and then became a very successful businessman, building Grizzly Industrial into a major player in the tools/parts/machinery business. Shiraz also founded Bullets.com, which sold firearms accessories and reloading components for some years. Shiraz’s effort to start Bullets.com was an outgrowth of his desire to “give back” to the shooting sports, the hobby he loves.

To cover his noteworthy business career and life, Shiraz has written an impressive 288-page autobiography, entitled A Bad Case of Capitalism (referring to his love for the world of selling products). This book covers Shiraz’s early years though the present, providing a “tale of travel through war-torn countries, courtroom battles, success, failure, and everything in between.” It explains the challenges of starting direct-to-consumer businesses, first via mail-order and then adapting to the new online world.

We enjoyed the book because it provides a clear inside look at the challenges of starting a business. And we are grateful that Shiraz, through his businesses, has been a strong supporter of AccurateShooter.com for more than a decade. Balolia’s autobiography has been described as “equal parts business primer, history, and collection of life lessons”. The book shows how vision and determination can create a true American success story.

Readers have enjoyed the book and the lessons it offers on how to build a business:

“As someone who loves to create things with his hands, I was immediately drawn to this book, as Mr. Balolia is basically the father of machinery for woodworkers like me. It’s a great read that opens your eyes to a place and time I’d never heard of before, and it paints a great picture of determination and grit…. This book is certainly a motivating tale, and it shows that with a supportive family and vision (and a ton of hard work) you can do anything you dream.” — Jameson H.

“This is as much a story of Mr. Balolia as it is of Grizzly Industrial. In this book, and probably real life, the two are inseparable. From humble beginnings to a substantial empire of industrial equipment you have to admire and applaud the success story and this chronicle of hard work and perseverance. Impressive, very impressive.” — Own One

Shiraz Balolia biography book Grizzly

Shiraz Balolia biography book Grizzly

Grizzly Lathes for Gunsmiths

In this video, Shiraz talks about Gunsmithing Lathes sold by Grizzly.com:

Shiraz Uses the Machines That He Sells
Shiraz is not just a talented business leader and ace marksman. He is also a very skilled fabricator and woodworker. He has crafted guitars, and worked on his own gunstocks. This shows an F-Class Stock Shiraz upgraded using Grizzly Industrial machinery. The modified stock has a significantly lower Center of Gravity, riding 1/2″ lower in the front bag. Shiraz says the modified stock performed great.

Shiraz Balolia biography book

Shiraz Balolia lathe press tools stock

Shiraz Balolia (left) and Norma Managing Director Paul-Erik Toivo.
Shiraz Balolia

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